As a kid growing UP in Germantown, I always looked forward to the haul of candy we’d get on Beggar’s Night.
It was usually October 30th rather than Halloween night. I don’t know exactly why, but can only assume that the grown UPs didn’t want us out on Halloween, which in my Dad’s view, was the most evil night of the year.
Mother, not being all that creative when it came to costumes, usually picked UP a couple of dime store costumes for my younger brother and I to wear. Once in a while, we went as a fat hobo. It was never a skinny hobo, which, again, I don’t understand, because hobos are supposed to be underfed, starving, looking for a handout, and in general, skinny.
But, there was usually a feather pillow stuffed under one of Dad’s shirts, smudge marks on our faces, and a bandanna tied to a stick for our hobo belongings.
Or we went as Popeye, Batman, or Zorro.
That was a pretty easy one too.
Fortunately, we’re a little more creative around here.
At least, we used to be!
Beggars’ Night is a Midwestern concept, stemming from Central Ohio and spreading outward through the Buckeye state to the rest of the Northwest Territory states.
The rest of the country refers to it as “Trick or Treat”, and we always yelled “Trick or Treat” when we’d run UP to the doors on Pollyanna Avenue with our pillow cases held out.
It was fun.
And then, of course, it got crazy. Razor blades in apples, cookies with cayenne pepper, pop-corn balls put together with Elmer’s Glue. People just screwed it UP.
So, for many cities, Beggars’ Night moved in doors. The goblins and witches and princesses and Batmen headed to the mall for their treats.
Kinda took the edge off it too.
They still do Beggars’ Night in Germantown, and it’s a wonderful tradition, one I hope never goes away, because it brings the community together. Neighbors greeting children, who’s parents stand at the curb letting the little ones have fun, greet one another, with “Happy Halloween” and laughs.
Of course, the Moms usually have to stay home to hand out candy to the hordes of munchkin arriving with their pillow cases too.
So, Happy Beggars’ Night, I hope you got a haul! Now run over the the Atrium and they’ll X-ray your candy for you!